Nocturnal Animals

Here at For Paws Animal Shows we are used to visiting The Sill during term time delivering Nocturnal workshops to school groups. We also travel across the whole of the North East visiting EYFS children right through to secondary schools and beyond with our friendly re-homed* animals. Our animals bring classroom topics such Rain Forests, Mini Beasts, Nocturnal Animals, Life Cycles, Habitats and Classification to life as pupils are able to handle and interact with them on a level you just can’t get from textbooks.

A small child being shown a hedgehog

Like the rest of the country things have ground to a halt for us in terms of presenting but we are still busy as ever behind the scenes caring for our animals.

But we do miss meeting all of your friendly faces and thought it might be nice to share our popular Nocturnal workshop with you. We hope that it will inspire you to get outdoors at dusk (with an adult) to see what animals you can find…

Two small hedgehogs

Nocturnal animals come out at night when most of us humans are tucked up in bed. But why? And which ones?

Can you think of any? Badgers, Foxes, Snails, Slugs, Hedgehogs, Bats, Rats, Owls there are loads!

Adult hands holding a Giant African Millipede

Here is Tickle-Foot our giant African Millipede. She’s incredible and feels a bit like a shower hose with Velcro legs. Perfectly suited to a nocturnal life she’s hard to see in the dark and moves silently. She has poor eye-sight though so she uses her antennae to feel her way around in the rain forest floor searching for decaying leaves to eat.

A young woman holding a large nocturnal spider

She would undoubtedly make a tasty snack for a whole host of predators including the wonderful Fuzzy Bum our tarantula. Fuzzy Bum uses her legs to feel vibrations in the dark and waits in ambush to strike at her prey – she will inject them with venom which paralyses them and then suck up their insides! Yum! Millipedes and their ancestors though, have been around since prehistoric times so are pretty clued up on how best to defend themselves. Can you guess what she might do? Run really fast? Dig? Curl up? Well, she secretes (that’s a good word) an irritating liquid from her body which can be harmful if rubbed into your eyes or into your mouth – it makes her smell and I reckon, taste pretty foul too no doubt! What a clever defence strategy!

So, so far we’ve seen that some animals choose to come out to avoid being seen and others come out to hunt. Some might also choose to come out to avoid us humans – we are active during the day after all – diurnal ( another great word) but there are also some creatures which choose to come out at dawn and dusk – during twilight. Can you think of any? Yes, deer and rabbits. These are great creatures to spot whilst you’re out and about – Do you know why they come out then? It’s harder for predators to see in the fading or morning light – I certainly find it harder to see when I’m driving during twilight. Do you know what the word is for animals who are most active at dawn and dusk? Crepuscular (Anther great word!).

A Giant Rabbit

This is Bub Bubs, a continental giant rabbit. Can you see how big his ears are? He can move them around to listen out for predators. His eyes are on the side of his head so that he can see whilst he’s eating the grass and his nose is always sniffing – so if he hears, sees or smells a predator he’s off! He’ll zig zag across an open space making it harder for a fox to work out which way he’s going to run and then nip back down into his underground burrow with the rest of his colony.

We hope that our blog has inspired you to get out and see which wildlife you can spot during twilight. Please make sure you are with a grown up and bring a note pad, pencil, camera and a torch. We’d love to see some of your drawings. Please email them to [email protected] or [email protected]

Thanks and stay safe!